Recruiting & Candidate Development
Over 9% of the population in the United States is unemployed today. I did a quick Google search to see what that meant in terms of real live bodies. I got a range of answers but basically that means somewhere close to 11 to 13 million human beings who want to work are looking for jobs and can’t find them. Lots of these people have been unemployed for six months or more.
As the economy starts to get juiced up again, should we snatch up these people to fill our open jobs, or do we look elsewhere for that special someone we need? Should the label of “unemployed” be a criterion for screening out someone during the pre employment screening process?
A natural bias that has grown up over the years leads us to wonder (just a little bit) if the reason people are unemployed is because they weren’t that great at their jobs in the first place. In that last few decades, we’ve all mostly assumed that layoffs often meant the company was letting the bottom performers go.
Assumptions like that have always made us leery of hiring those who are out of work. And to make matters worse, if they have been looking for work for over 6 months and couldn’t find anyone to hire them, does that imply something about the kind of employee that might be? I overheard someone talking the other day that he had been unemployed for over a year.
His comment was that the one-year mark was an unstated “black threshold” where people basically refused to look at him since he had been out of work for so long.
Does the nature of the economy today challenge those long held assumptions? Is there a new type of unemployed worker? Many say yes. In fact, you will find a consensus among most staffing and recruiting professionals that some pretty incredible talent is out there waiting to be picked. When the economy went into a tailspin, a lot of very good people got caught up in the cycle of unemployment that otherwise never would have been let go.
As we begin to staff up in the next few years there will be a lot of currently unemployed people applying for jobs at our companies. As hiring professionals – do we adjust our traditional biases during our employment screening process?
What do we do when not only the applicant is unemployed – but so are two out of three of his/her references? What if the company they worked for last doesn’t even exist anymore?
I think the answer is we have to look beyond old biases and instead look for the gems that exist out there. Use your employment screening and background checking process to fully vet the person – but don’t let the stigma of unemployment slow you down!
Jerry Thurber is President of Tandem Select, a background screening company located in Colorado. At Tandem, Jerry is responsible for driving the company’s innovation and growth initiatives. He has over 25 years of experience in the field of product development, technical innovation and executive management for human resource solutions.
His experience spans from large scale Fortune 1000 firms to small scale business start ups. Jerry joins Tandem Select from Fetch Inc. a California based artificial intelligence web data harvesting company. Prior to Fetch, Jerry was with ADP, Inc where he was the Division Vice President and General Manager for Applicant Management Services.
Prior to ADP, Jerry was the CIO and Vice President of Product Development at the Fort Collin’s based Avert, Inc for 5 years. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Management Systems and Technologies at American Management Systems, Inc. were he directed commercial consulting and systems development activities in the western region. Jerry has a full spectrum of human resource experience including; running a drug test and occupational health company, an applicant tracking and recruiting company, and a pre employment screening company.
He has also worked in senior management with payroll systems and HRIS systems, including helping to develop HR and payroll systems for the International Labor Organization, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Bank.
Contact Jerry at email@example.com.
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The 77 million people that make up the US small business workforce would rank as the 17th most populous country in the world, just ahead of Iran;
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